Join us for this sacred journey as we explore the beautiful sites of Italy and deepen in faith.
Day 1 | Monday, September 18, 2017: Depart for Rome Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s) to Italy. Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 | Tuesday, September 19, 2017: Arrive in Rome Welcome to Rome, also known as, “The Eternal City.” Upon arrival at Rome airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival’s hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will make your way to the bus and transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, you will have free time to unpack and relax, or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. The group will join together for your welcome dinner. Overnight in Rome.
Day 3 | Wednesday, September 20, 2017: Rome: Papal Audience – Basilica of St. John the Lateran – Basilica of St. Mary Major After breakfast at your hotel, your first sightseeing day in Rome starts! The tour begins with the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or shop, or mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon you will visit two of the four major basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Later, we’ll visit The Basilica of Saint Mary Major, one of the four great ancient basilicas in Rome, founded in the 4th century. This church stands on the Esquiline hill and its bell tower is the tallest in Rome. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 | Thursday, September 21, 2017: Rome: The Vatican Museum – Saint Peter’s Basilica, Ancient Rome
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter’s Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. Also, it was Our Holy Father, Pope Francis who was the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since ex-tensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. It is here that you will view Michelangelo’s Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Muse-ums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will observe the Tapestry Gal-lery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo’s Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. Afterward, you’ll enjoy a tour of Ancient Rome. See ancient Roman ruins and visit key sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill as you learn about the notorious gladiator competitions of old. Some free time for shopping and relaxing before dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 5 | Friday, September 22, 2017: Rome – Monte Cassino – Pompeii – Sorrento Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Monte Cassino. Passing through the Roman countryside that is known for its villas and vineyards. During the bus ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Monte Cassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, was founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. Continue to Pompeii and visit this ancient site in southern Italy. Pompeii dramatically captures a Roman town in the shadow of a volcano, exactly as it was 2000 years ago. When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the 15,000 citizens of Pompeii were caught tragically unawares. Their town was buried under layers of ash and lava, which hardened and acted as a preservative of the bodies, homes, streets and public buildings it covered. The excavation of Pompeii that began in the 18th century revealed one of the most compelling archeological sites of all time, and today visitors can see the stark drama of lives interrupted in a 2000 year old Roman town. Continue to Sorrento for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 | Saturday, September 23, 2017: Sorrento – Capri – Sorrento
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing by boat for your tour to beautiful Capri, one of the most beautiful areas of the Bay of Naples. This near mythical place has attracted emperors, artists, poets and revolutionaries for centuries. Brightly painted towns littered with grand mansions tumble down hillsides, azure seas lap secluded coves and an array of chic hotels and designer boutiques cater for the numerous celebrities, politicians and wealthy elite who like to linger here. You’ll discover winding alleyways, Roman ruins and a hidden charm that ensures visitors return again and again! See the Blue Grotto, weather permitting. Return to Sorrento for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 | Sunday, September 24, 2017: Sorrento – Amalfi Coast – Assisi Today you will tour the Amalfi Coast, widely considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world; deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site as an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape. We’ll follow the 34 miles of winding roads. Making a quick stop to view the breathtaking panoramic view of Positano. Continue on through Praiano where you will drive by St. Gennaro Church, to Amalfi, one of the four maritime Republics of Italy, and view the beautiful Amalfi Cathedral consecrated to its patron, Saint Andrew. Some free time for lunch. Our last stop on the Amalfi coast will be Ravello. View its interesting Cathedral devoted to Saint Pantaleone, and the Villa Rufolo, a venue for many festivals thru the year and magnificent gardens. View the Gulf of Salerno and its beautiful coastline. Enjoy the landscape on your way to Assisi, where you will enjoy dinner and overnight.
Day 8 | Monday, September 25, 2017: Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that in-spired a Holy Father) Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a tour of the the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is the “Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment.” Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature, and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life. He preferred to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions, just as St. Francis did. As we visit the birthplace of St. Francis, you will become captivated as the atmosphere has not changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. We will start our tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit his tomb of St. Francis, and have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, along with a few of the saint’s possessions. From there, we will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and ending with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time on your own – you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, we will board the bus, which will take us outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This is where St. Francis spent most of life. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure, is the “Porziuncola”, which is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans). The second, is the “Capella del Transito”, which is the place of St. Francis’ death. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9 | Tuesday, September 26, 2017: Assisi – Siena – Assisi After breakfast, we’ll travel to the Tuscan city of Siena. This medieval city is the birthplace of St. Catherine “Doctor of the Church”, and the Apostle of Italy, St. Bernardine. We will see the Basilica of St. Catherine (which is also known as the Basilica of St. Domenico). St. Catherine passed a large part of her life inside the walls of this Basilica. Afterward, we will visit the Shrine of St. Catherine, which occupies the site of her family home. Enjoy our walking tour through Siena including a visit to its Cathedral (Duomo di Siena).
We will conclude at one of Italy’s finest squares, the Piazza Del Campo, where you will be given free time to spend at your own leisure. There are a number of restaurants surrounding the square to have lunch, as well as shops for gifts and souvenirs. Return to Assisi for dinner and over-night.
Day 10 | Wednesday, September 27, 2017: Assisi – Olive Oil tasting – Flor-ence
Breakfast will be served at your hotel in Assisi. Today we will visit an Olive Oil farm and enjoy a tasting of olive oil, one of the many gems of Italy! Lunch will be provid-ed either at the Farm or a restaurant nearby. Following lunch, we will enjoy the views of the countryside on our way to Florence. Upon arrival in Florence, you will notice immediately that it is the land for art lovers. Some of the most world re-nowned artists are from Florence such as, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, and many others. Upon arrival, you will have the opportunity to explore the streets of Florence at leisure before dinner and over-night.
Day 11 | Thursday, September 28, 2017: Florence
In Florence, your day begins with breakfast, followed by sightseeing. The tour starts at the Church of the Holy Cross, the Santa Croce, where many nobles are buried, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. Continue to walk by Piazza Signorina, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and Republic Square to the Santa Maria del Fiore. This Cathedral is an iconic piece of architecture of the city of Florence. It was designed by Filippo Brunelles
in the 13th century. Followed by a visit to L’Accademia, the well-known art gallery. At this gallery, you will have the opportunity to view the work from artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo and the ever famous sculpture by Michelangelo, David. This afternoon you will have time to explore Florence on your own. Dinner and overnight in Florence.
Day 12 | Friday, September 29, 2017: Depart Florence – Return USA
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Florence airport for your return flights home.
OR **Post Tour to Venice**
Day 12 | Friday, September 29, 2017: Depart Florence – Padua – Arrive Venice
Following breakfast at your hotel, board the motor coach for your transfer to Padua. This Northern Italy city honors the “Patron Saint of Lost Things and Causes”, St. Anthony. You will begin a sightseeing tour of the city, including a view of one of the oldest Universities in Italy, the University of Padua, as well as the Basilica of Santa Giustina, the “Patron Saint of Padua.” The tour will conclude at the Basilica of St. Anthony, where you will have the opportunity to visit his tomb. Continue to Venice to check into your hotel and for dinner and overnight.
Day 13 | Saturday, September 30, 2017: Venice
Today, after your breakfast enjoy a half day tour of the “City paved with Water!” Your walking tour includes a visit to St. Mark’s Square, the largest square in the city and the site of many government buildings; the Golden Basilica of San Marco, known for the great mosaics that depict the Old and New Testament of the Bible; and the Bridge of Sigh, a bridge that will bring eternal love to those who drift below it. You will have the remainder of the afternoon to explore Venice on your own. Return to hotel in Venice for dinner and overnight.
Day 14 | Sunday, October 1, 2017: Depart Venice – Return USA
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Venice airport for return flights home.
For more information about this trip, visit my Pilgrimage.com trip page here.
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